fantasy TV shows

Is There A Cost to Hiding Our Mistakes?

Cost of Mistakes Battlestar GalacticaBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

Should we always admit our mistakes, sins, and bad decisions and accept responsibility for them, or are there times when we should simply move on and try to forget they happened?

The decision is probably easy when the stakes are small, but what about when we run into one of those situations where accepting responsibility would change our lives…and not necessarily for the better.

In the first season of Battlestar Galactica, two storylines look at both sides of this dilemma.

Captain Sharon Valerii (call sign “Boomer”) wakes up one day soaked with water. She doesn’t remember what happened, and she discovers explosives in her duffle bag. When she investigates the small arms locker, she finds six more detonators are missing. When Galactica’s water tanks blow up, leaving the entire fleet with a critical water shortage, Sharon and her lover cover up her role, sure she’s been framed.

Except Sharon wasn’t framed. She’s a sleeper agent who doesn’t yet understand (let alone accept) what she is. Because she and her lover lied and hid what they knew, Sharon is able to try and nearly succeed at assassinating the commander of the fleet. I’ve always wondered—if they’d confessed right away, would Sharon have fallen that far? Her character shows great ability for change and loyalty. Could her path have been different if they’d been honest instead of trying to hide? Or would they have immediately executed her as a cylon infiltrator without giving her a chance to redeem herself?

Unlike Sharon, Dr. Gaius Baltar is never caught for the part he played in the cylon destruction of the twelve human colonies. (Though, in his defense, he didn’t realize he was helping the cylons. He thought he was breaking the rules to help the beautiful woman he was sleeping with win a defense contract.) He even eventually becomes president of the remnant of humanity. In a lot of ways, he seems to benefit from hiding his past mistakes.

But watching what he has to do to keep his secret, you have to ask if it was worth it. He leaves a potentially innocent man to die to cover up for the fact that he doesn’t know how to build a cylon detector. He advises that the passenger ship, the Olympic Carrier, be destroyed, saying it might be carrying cylon infiltrators, when in truth he’s afraid one passenger (Dr. Amarak) might have evidence of the role Gaius played in the cylon invasion. Almost every action he takes is to cover up something else he’s done.

He never faces the consequences of his actions and never becomes a better person.

Where’s the line between what we should admit to and what it’s alright to make private?

If a husband or wife cheated on their spouse 10 years ago and wasn’t caught, should they confess now to ease their conscience or stay quiet and spare their spouse’s feelings?

What if you bump into another car in the parking lot and no one is around to see it? Do you leave a note? Does it change things if you are barely paying your bills and don’t know how you’ll manage to repair their car or pay a higher insurance rate?

And what might be the emotional costs of hiding our past mistakes?

What do you think? Should we always confess our wrongs? Are there times we should stay silent?

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Image Credit: Matteo Canessa (from sxc.hu)

Related Posts:
Could You Be An Evil Person?
Four Reasons Battlestar Galactica Isn’t Just for SciFi Fans

Revolution: How Do You Remember to Be Grateful?

Revolution on NBCBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

I take my washing machine for granted. And my refrigerator. And cheesecake.

What if they were all gone tomorrow?

New to the fall lineup of TV shows on NBC is Revolution. An unknown phenomenon knocked out every power source across the globe. No electricity. No cars or planes. No batteries. Nothing works.

In the pilot episode, Ben Matheson (who knows the secret behind the power outage and knows the power won’t be coming back on—ever) empties the ice cream from his family’s freezer. He sets an entire carton down in front of his young daughter, Charlie.

“Really?” she asks.

Her mom nods. “It’s all going to melt anyway.”

Charlie shovels ice cream into her mouth.

Ben stops her. “Slow down. I want you to really remember what ice cream tastes like, okay?”

He wants her to savor it because he knows that carton will likely be the last ice cream she ever has.

Charlie nods, but you can tell she doesn’t really understand.

We’re a lot like Charlie sometimes.

No, we’re not in danger of the power going out forever (all joking about the zombie apocalypse aside), but we don’t always recognize how good we have it at this very moment.

So we forget to savor life and easily fall into the pattern of complaining rather than stopping to be grateful for what we have.

We rush through our meals without appreciating them. We grumble about having to do a load of laundry without being grateful for the fact that all we really have to do is sort, load, and fold. My grandma still remembers washing laundry by hand.

Because most of us haven’t truly known the kind of hardship where we go to sleep hungry and don’t know where we’ll be sleeping tomorrow, we don’t understand how blessed we are.

I’m a big offender.

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada, so I’m calling this my fresh start.

Starting today, I’m going to try to eat a little slower, appreciate the time spent with my family a little more, and grumble a little less.

When I’m annoyed about having to change the toilet paper roll, I’m going to be thankful I even have toilet paper (my husband says that people in Iraq use their left hands for the same purpose).

When I’m tired and don’t really feel like cooking dinner, I’m going to be thankful we have the option of take-out or, if I cook anyway, that I didn’t have to raise, kill, and pluck that chicken myself.

My life might be far from perfect, far from what I want it to be, but I have it pretty good.

What mundane item are you most thankful for?

And remember to vote for Zerynthia the warrior My Little Pony in Rebecca Enzor’s PonyFest12!

For writers, there’s still time to register for How to Write Faster and Make the Most of Your Limited Time for only $30. All the classes I’ll be teaching this fall are now also listed here on my website under the classes tab on the menu bar.

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